KUALA LUMPUR: The intense heat created by the blaze at a religious school this morning prevented neighbours and passers-by from saving its pupils.
Local residents said they tried entering the school but made it only as far as the front entrance because of the raging fire and acrid smoke.
Babul Amir, 21, said he rushed to the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah Tahfiz Centre in Datuk Keramat here to try and save a student who was trapped on the building’s second floor.
“I ran up the stairs after hearing screams for help, but I couldn’t go far because of the intense heat.
“I saw two students lying motionless in their beds before firemen told me to get away,” he told Berita Harian today.
Another resident, Muhd Ridzwan Abdullah, 21, said he managed to climb several flights of stairs before the roof started giving way.
“I tried to enter the dorm but I was blocked by falling debris. I felt helpless knowing I couldn’t do anything to help the kids,” he said.
Baharuddin Sudin, 48, said he saw the school on fire at about 5.15am.
He said the fire was spreading fast as he heard cries for help from pupils trapped on the building’s second floor.
“Some of them tried to break the windows and climb out. But by then, black plumes of smoke were rising.
“After less than five minutes, their cries fell silent. That really affected me,” he said.
Shahirman Shahril, 39, said he and several other residents told some of the trapped pupils to jump out of the windows.
“Three of four jumped out. We tried to catch them but it was difficult because of the building’s height. Many of them suffered severe burns.
“Their cries for help are still ringing in my ears. I’m very sad because I couldn’t do anything.”
Translated from Berita Harian